Friday, May 20, 2011

Bi-national Couples: DOMA

Americans who are married to citizens of a different country are able to sponsor their spouses for residency, and ultimately citizenship, if that is what they choose. I have been able to witness the process first-hand (second-hand?), as my sister's husband is from Canada. It is logical and legal way to keep families together. Not all Americans have the opportunity to sponsor their spouses for residency or citizenship. The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was pushed through Congress by social conservatives due to fears that Hawaii might be the first place in the modern world, let alone state in the Union that would allow people of the same sex to be united with a marriage contract. It was signed in 1996 by President Clinton, who has since denounced the law. The third article of the act defines the federal recognition of marriage as only between a man and a woman. This is a difficult situation when it comes to citizens of states where marriage equality is a reality. As of this writing, five states and the District of Columbia allow people of the same sex the same rights and responsibilities of marriage as people of the opposite sex. Eleven other states offer civil unions, which are similar to marriage in all but name (in most states). Citizens in a legal marriage cannot sponsor their spouse for residency or citizenship under federal law. These are some of their stories.

Out4Immigration - Binational Couples for Immigration Equality in the US from Devote Campaign on Vimeo.

There have been several lawsuits challenging DOMA on the third articleEric Holder, the Attorney General has decided that his department would no longer defend it in court, as he and President Obama both agree that article three is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the deportations of foreign spouses has not been halted. Please listen to their stories. Let's keep these families together!

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